Wild hoping for less travel

The Okanagan Wild play their only game of the season in Penticton this weekend, near the tail end of their inaugural season.

The Wild have struggled this year (4-11) in the B.C. Intermediate Lacrosse League, hamstrung by a travel schedule that saw them play just a handful of their home games in the Interior.

The team has played a pair of games in Kamloops, one in Merritt and one in Rutland. The rest of their “home games” were played in the Lower Mainland, something the team's general manager is aiming to change for next season.

“We were challenged with the heavy travel at the first half of the season,” Martin Gardner said, noting that many of the players from all over the Okanagan and Southern Interior already have to travel hours just to make it to practice.

“But overall, I think we are exactly where we want to be leading up to next year, which is going to be a different animal altogether,” he said. “The biggest key to our success, is going into next year, the boys were scared and timid, didn’t know what to expect, there was a lot of emotion about the unknown.”

Parents, volunteers and coaches have all been learning as they go this season.

The Wild play the New Westminster Salmonbellies, Saturday at 4 p.m. at Memorial Arena. With eight players on the Wild roster hailing from the Peach City, Gardner expects a hard fought game.

“Its back and forth action, high levels of one on one competitiveness, but it's a team sport and a spectator sport, I welcome people to come out, lacrosse is an amazing game,” he said.

The Wild play one more game in the Interior on July 8 in Vernon at Kal-Tire Place, before heading back to the Lower Mainland for the final three games of the season.

Gardner says they are exploring the possibility of a single home venue for next year, but he also likes the idea of spreading the home games throughout the Okanagan, Kamloops and Merritt.

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